Longtime board member Marion Key will be the new chairman of the Fayette County Board of Education following a vote Monday night at the first meeting of 2013.
Key was nominated by new board member Mary Kay Bacallao, and approved unanimously by the board. She will be taking over for Leonard Presberg, who served in the role throughout 2012.
Key thanked her fellow board members and Presberg in particular for his service the past year, and welcomed Dan Colwell, the interim superintendent who was presiding over his first meeting in that role.
In her comments, Key acknowledged the difficulties still facing the board and was optimistic that this particular board, including newcomers Bacallao and Barry Marchman, are up to the task.
"The last few years have not been easy ones for the board of education. While we continue to have many difficult decisions to make, I want to take this opportunity to say how gratified i am to be serving with all of you. In my 16 years as a board member, this is the first time that I have served with such a distinguished group of people. i am excited to have diverse areas of expertise on the board. While I can imagine that we will not always agree, I believe that we will learn to work together in a way that will make each of us proud and the community proud of us."
Key also suggested the pressing concerns about the budget should not blur the focus on the Board's most important duty, putting students first.
"We all have the children in our community as our primary concern. We are the stewards of their educational experience, the guides for our faculty and staff, and the guardians of our community's resources. We have much to accomplish in a short period of time. We have challenging decisions to make including those that will help us balance our budget, align schools with our current needs, and hire a new superintendent. However we make decisions now, I challenge each of us including our staff and community to keep the vision of our school system in mind."
Following Key's appointment, the Board unanimously voted to make Bob Todd vice-chair. Bacallao originally nominated new board member Barry Marchman, but he respectfully declined.
"I'm flattered but I think I need to defer to somebody with more experience than myself."
Key will now be in the lead role on a board facing another tough year in terms of decision making. A budget shortfall looms, a permanent superintendent needs to be hired, and multiple county schools face potential closure.